By Hamish Johnston
Many things have changed in physics since I was a postgraduate in the 1990s. But if you asked me what the most exciting change has been, I would say the emergence of quantum information and computing as a discipline.
Or, more precisely, the fact that physicists are now able to create devices that routinely exploit quantum properties such as superposition and entanglement to make calculations and exchange information.
Granted, the devices are primitive and the calculations are limited, but let’s not forget that less than 70 years ago the first transistor was a large lump of germanium with wires sticking out of it.
The Institute of Physics (IOP) has just come out with a glossy brochure that captures the excitement of this revolution. It’s called The Age of The Qubit and a PDF can be downloaded here. Most of the IOP’s members are in the UK, so the brochure focuses on research done in Britain and Northern Ireland.